SAWs Partners with BraunAbility to Build 50 Free Ramps

The initiative brings freedom, accessibility, and independence to several locations across the United States.

INDIANAPOLIS, AUGUST 15, 2022: – Servants at Work, Inc. (SAWs), Indiana-based nonprofit dedicated to building wheelchair accessible ramps for people with long-term disabilities, partnered with BraunAbility, a global leader in wheelchair accessible vehicles and lifts. Together they achieved an ambitious goal: to build 50 wheelchair-accessible ramps this summer.

SAWs and BraunAbility volunteers building a new access ramp.

The two organizations have similar missions dedicated to enhancing independence for individuals with mobility challenges.

“SAWs was honored to partner with BraunAbility in celebrating their 50thanniversary. Sharing our mission with their employees and customers has brought awareness to who we are and what we specialize in, providing mobility freedom for those in need,” stated D. Michael Thompson, SAWs Executive Director.

The majority of the 50 ramps have been built in the Indiana communities where BraunAbility employees live and work, but thanks to SAWs’ operations team, affiliates, and BraunAbility’s retail network, the partnership was also able to successfully build ramps for clients in Illinois, Arizona, Michigan, and Seattle, Washington.

This challenge was the first of its kind for SAWs.  Operations Manager Tim Thurston and founder Rik Hagerty put in long hours to plan, execute and manage the logistics of scheduling manpower and materials.  Each ramp requires careful preparation, to include site surveying, technical sketches, and pre-cutting of wood planks before it can be installed on site.

“One of the most incredible things about this challenge is witnessing the awesome BraunAbility people and their affiliates stepping up and out of their comfort zone to learn how to build these ramps. We had teams in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas City, Seattle, Phoenix, and St. Louis” stated Tim Thurston. “These 50 clients are so appreciative to regain their freedom.”

In March and April, SAWs held a successful fundraising campaign where donors were able to have their gifts matched by a $50,000 grant from BraunAbility. SAWs supporters from across the country gave generously, which resulted in the funding of all 50 ramps.  The average SAWs ramp costs over $1,500, and of the 50 ramps built, ranged in raw material cost from $700 to $5,200.

The 50 ramps built in July and August by SAWs and BraunAbility volunteers are completely free to the recipient. Each ramp is constructed of wood and adheres strictly to ADA standards. To qualify for the ramp build, recipients must have a long-term disability and have a household income below the Area Mean Income for the state of residence.